Travellers must move on

Posted: 7th January 2013

Two families of travellers living on a site in Somerset without planning permission have failed in a High Court bid for the right to stay there. The likelihood that eviction would interfere with the families’ human rights was outweighed by the need to ensure road safety and uphold effective planning control, a judge ruled.Willowman

The families, including several young children, had challenged a planning inspector's decision to uphold Sedgemoor District Council's refusal of planning permission for them to remain on the land in Theale, Somerset. The inspector had found that the development would cause ‘serious detriment’ to the character and appearance of the area.

In dismissing the families’ appeal, the court rejected a plea that a road safety issue in respect of visibility at the junction giving access to the site had been given too much weight by the inspector. Arguments that the inspector should have granted temporary planning consent for three to five years were also dismissed.

Ruling that the inspector’s conclusions were properly open to him, the court stated: ‘He was entitled to conclude that the objections both in terms of amenity, effects on the landscape and traffic were of sufficient importance to outweigh the best interests of the children and justify his refusal of planning permission’.